August 7, 2014

Organizing 101

Plain and simple, I love organizing. If I could go into professional organizing (Bachelor shoutout, anyone?) and be successful, I probably would. Here are my top ten tips for staying organized on a working schedule.

Floral calendar via Etsy

1. Manage your email.

I have three separate email accounts to keep me on track - work, personal and my blog email account. I've found it's much easier to handle my inbox if I have multiple accounts, and then I further divide up my inboxes by folders. It sounds simple, but it really helps when you need to search for a certain email or when you need to divide your time between accounts.

2. Lists.

List-making is my bread and butter. I'm constantly making to-do lists, and I keep pretty much keep Post-Its everywhere. I've found it helps to make a to-do list first thing in the morning, and then make another at the end of the day. That way, you know what's coming up for tomorrow and you can think ahead of what needs to be accomplished.

3. Clean your work space every. day.
May Designs Weekly Planner

I don't know about you, but I can't work in a messy space. I always clean my desk off after each day and return everything to its place, so that when I walk in the next morning it really feels like a fresh start. Many days I eat lunch at my desk, so I also keep extra wipes in my desk drawer.

4. Personal planner.

Yes, I'm the girl who has to write everything down in her planner to remember. I carry it with me in my purse so that I always have it at home and at work. I switched from my Lilly planner (that I used all through college) to a May Book. I love how you can choose your font and pattern for the cover page, and it's slim enough to easily fit in my bag.

5. Digital help.

There are many apps out there that help with organization, but usually I just keep a list on my iPhone's notepad when I'm on-the-go. If I need a reminder, say at a certain time, I'll set it so it pops up on my phone. Also, Real Simple just launched a new checklist app that has categories like home, food, cleaning, wellness, finance and style, and I'm excited to try it out!

6. Meal planning + organization.

When you're working a 40 hour week, it can be hard to plan out meals and stay on top of your grocery list. For Katie and I, we take advantage of the down time we have on Sunday afternoons and make a big batch of a meal we can take for lunch during the week. If there is a dish we know want to cook for dinner one night, we'll post the recipe up on our bulletin board so we know what we need to pick up at the store ahead of time. A little organization at the beginning of the week goes a long way!

7. Calendars, calendars, calendars.

I keep a paper calendar hanging up in the office that I can reference daily instead of taking out my planner. Katie and I also have a white-board calendar on our refrigerator where we use to write bill due dates, networking meetings, weekend activities and dates we will be going out of town. Each morning, it's encouraging to see the things we can look forward to (I'm talking trips and fun things, not bills) for that month.

8. Break up your day into time slots.

If I have a lot on my plate, I've found it helpful to break up my day in 30 minute time slots. I'll write down a plan for my day broken up by 30 minutes, so it helps me stay on track and not spend too much time on one project or assignment. This was especially helpful when I was president of my sorority - it really helped me stay focused on the task at hand!

9. Labeling / filing / color coding.

Oh, how I wish I had my dad's label maker now. I label almost everything at work, and make sure that all my paperwork has its place. It can be fun too - matching colors and buying pretty file folders make me more inclined to keep all the paper straight.

10. Keep a tidy bag.

Anyone else feel like if your purse is a mess, your life is too? It's crazy how bad my work bag can get after a week. I try to clean out my receipts and notes Sunday evening so that I'm not searching through the mess all week. Anything extra, like makeup, mints and other odds and ends, I put in a separate smaller bag.

If any of y'all have other organizing tips, I'd love to hear!

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